Gail Fisher's Dog Tracks: With ground rules, cats and dogs can live together at lake house
GAIL FISHER | May 25. 2013 1:57AM
My friend quickly rejected this option. While, unlike dogs, some cats can be left with sufficient food and water for two or three days, my friend's cat is extremely social, and she didn't think he'd be happy being left behind. (Truth be told, I could tell she would miss him, too). She also rejected the idea of boarding him because, well, it's their lake house, and she doesn't think they should have to make this choice about their pet.
I don't recommend this option for a few reasons. At least one of the visiting dogs lives with cats in his own home, but that doesn't mean he will generalize his tolerance to all cats. Before we got him, our dog Kochi lost an adoptive home because he was predatory to cats. Yet in our home, he got along fine with one of our cats - but not the other. There is no way to know in advance whether they would get along.
And then there's the cat. My friend doesn't know how he will react to dogs or if it will be extremely stressful to him to be around them. So for these reasons, and because there are other, better options, this, too, was rejected.
Dog owners love watching their dogs enjoy themselves, and there are few places as wonderful as a quiet lake house for this opportunity. Aside from the potential resentment toward my friend if she tells them they can't bring their dogs, she really doesn't want to deny them the opportunity for relaxation and enjoyment of their pets - as long as it won't be at the expense of her cat. Which brought us to the final, and at the end of the day, the best option.
This is the best option for their guests, for family harmony and for the future, because the solution is not just for this summer, but for the rest of their lives with their cat. The most important aspect of this option is setting clear guidelines and making sure everyone is 100 percent committed to these safety measures 100 percent of the time.